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CAG blasts port development programme
March, 10th 2010

In what could be a setback for the government's ambitious development goals, a latest audit finding reveals that investments in large infrastructure projects, many of them in the public private partnership (PPP), have failed to take off, getting stuck in bureaucratic hurdles.

The government's official auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report on the functioning of the country's 11 major ports submitted before Parliament on Tuesday, has termed the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) as almost a failure.

Formulated in 2006, the NMDP had 276 schemes to be completed by 2011-12. An assessment made by CAG said implementation of the projects, which had private participation worth Rs 29,000 crore, was poor to the extent that only 18% of the schemes could be completed in the target period.

Poor planning and execution have been held as the prime reasons behind delay in the implementation of these projects.

The projects included enhancement of the handling capacity of the major ports from 385 million tonnes (mt) in 2004-05 to 755 mt by 2011-2012, in two phases, 2005-09 and 2007-12. The schemes also pertained to deepening of channels, berth construction, procurement of equipment and connectivity projects.

In line with the `landlord' model, the bulk of the public investment was planned to be made on development of common facilities through schemes on deepening and connectivity. About 54% of the investment was planned for construction, upgradation and reconstruction of berths, where private players were expected to play a dominant role under PPP. It was expected that by the end of March 2009, an additional capacity of 230 mt would be created to take the total handling capacity in major ports to 616 mt.

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